Title: Black and Blue Love: A Lesbian Novel
Author Name: Judy Folger
Publication Date & Length: August 24, 2013 – 131 pgs
After Kallie Moran’s husband, Aaron, is killed in Iraq, Kallie asks her law firm to transfer her back to her home town so she can be close to her mother.
When her request is granted, she realizes that closeness to her mother also means closeness to her mother’s dreadful sister, Bessie Benson.
Bessie is loud and crass, and her sons make a lifestyle of rotating in and out of the county jail. The only Benson that Kallie has ever been able to tolerate is her cousin, Andi. Andi, too, once dreamed of getting out of Brookville, but unlike Kallie, she never quite made it.
Now an out lesbian, Andi drags her intimidated partner, Della, to local bars and out-of-control family affairs. Della seems so miserable that Kallie finds herself reaching out to this beautiful, fragile-looking woman who just doesn’t seem to belong among the Bensons.
As Kallie and Della become friends, Kallie witnesses the verbal and emotional abuse Andi heaps on Della. Then comes the terrible night when Andi is no longer able to confine herself to words and slams Della to the ground, permanently scarring her face.
Della flees to Kallie for protection. In relative safety, she struggles to face the fact that she is a victim of lesbian domestic violence. She is also falling hard for Kallie, her rescuer.
Kallie, meanwhile, is keeping some secrets of her own. She wants to be with Della as much as Della wants to be with her, but she is afraid to embark on her first lesbian relationship.
Their love blossoms when Kallie risks her life to save Della from another of Andi’s vicious attacks. But it doesn’t take Andi long to realize she’s been betrayed. Furious, drunk, and carrying her father’s hand gun, she vows that this time she will REALLY make Della and Kallie pay.
Kallie Morgan is transferred to her hometown by her law firm where she hopes to reconnect with her cousin/best friend, Andi Benson. However, she doesn’t get to spend much time with her because Andi is out of town because of work more often than not. Kallie does connect with Andi’s partner Della, who works at the local furniture store.
The relationship between Della and Kallie is rushed. Della feels that Kallie is the one for her right after she meets her. It would have helped the story if the friendship aspect had been explored.
Kallie does spend a rare moment with Andi and finds out that when she is out of town she cheats and that Della does what she tells her to do. Kallie can’t believe what she is hearing. Andi asks her to take her to a dinner theater that she has tickets to. She can’t take her due to work and won’t let her go alone. Kallie agrees. This is not the first event that Andi asks Kallie to take Della to. It is almost like Andi is pushing the two of them together. Almost.
Della goes to a cookout at her parent’s house because Andi out of town. However, when Della arrives home, Andi is there. Drunk and angry. She is begins accusing her of having a girlfriend. She slaps Della and she falls. The ring cuts her face and her head hits the floor. Andi leaves. Luckily she is not knocked out. She calls her sister & brother-in-law. They come over and tell her she needs stitches. This scene is difficult to read regarding the abuse that happens to Della and the way that Andi leaves with no remorse.
The relationship deepens between Della and Kallie after the abuse. Andi shows up a Halloween party at Della’s parents house. She had seen Della and Kallie kiss. She tries to grab Della, but her mother is able to get her before Andi can. Then goes after Kallie with a piece of wood. Kallie trips and hits her hit on a stone. The cops had been called when she arrived and she is hauled off to jail. Now Kallie needs stitches. Finally, a restraining order is filed against Andi. Of course, as a reader I am wondering why this wasn’t done when Della was slapped.
She, of course, violates it. There are many twists and turns in this story. I wish there had been some background on Della. We don’t know much about this character at all. The romance between the two main characters should have been delayed and back story interjected would have given readers a better understanding about them.
Della leaned into Kallie so that their bodies were pressed close together. Kallie finally did what she had been wanting to do since the day she met Della. She reached up and tangled her fingers in that glorious, unruly hair. She had expected Della’s hair to be coarse, but it was soft and warm in her hands.
Then Della’s hands found her breases, and Kallie remembered where they were and what they were doing. It took every ounce of willpower that she’d ever possessed, but she withdrew from Della, backing into the wall at the end of the step. “We shouldn’t do this,” she said in a voice so hoarse with passion she scarcely recognized it.
Della’s green eyes reflected hurt and confusion. “Why not?”
“Because you’re my cousin’s partner.”
Della nodded sadly. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go.”
Kallie tried to think of something to say that would ease things between the two of them, but no words came to her mind. All she could do was watch as Della walked out the door.
A proud member of the lesbian community, Judy wrote her first book after she retired and hasn’t looked back since. Her books tell the stories of women in love who fight to overcome real-life problems. Judy was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Wichita but now lives in Merriam, Kansas. She has a son who also writes and a daughter-in-law who does paranormal investigations.